Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

BitTorrent Gives Hollywood a Headache

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the stealing-the-bread-out-of-their-mouths dept.

The Internet 694

fudgefactor7 writes "Although the MPAA and the RIAA, and practically anyone else who has an interest in protecting their intellectual property rights online, are fighting against P2P programs like EDonkey, Morpheus, and Napster, BitTorrent is coming under even greater scrutiny, albeit with less actual success so far, and that is giving Hollywood a headache, since they really don't know what to do about it and they can't go to Cohen and moan. Once he let the genie out of the bottle there was no way to put it back in. And with the likes of PeerGuardian, et. al., it only gets harder for the corporations to put the virtual, and legal, smackdown on file sharing."

cancel ×

694 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

First again, bitches! (1)

Ads are broken (718513) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059258)

Can no one stop me?!?!?!?!?!?

Legally (5, Insightful)

Omkar (618823) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059263)

Are BitTorrent users more vulnerable legally (not practically) since they automatically upload? I'd think that makes them distributors, which presumably brings higher penalties than consumption.

Re:Legally (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11059293)

probably, though I`m not sure. Bit torrent can be dangerous becuase its so easy to find out who all is downloading nad uploading one file(simple download the tracker yourself and double click the name in ABC to do it). I think you`re a lot more open to attack than others because you can be caught downloading it from another person. I`d be worried about being caught with bit torrent a whole lot more than other programs.

It`ll be interesting to see how they deal with it.

Re:Legally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11059295)

I got an ISP nastygram for downloading Battlestar Galactica and Stargate Atlantis within 12hours of downloading recent episodes. I don't know if this makes the end user more or less accountable for distributing a file, but it makes it paintfuly clear that you are indeed downloading and sharing the file. It's also painfuly clear that there is someone out there logging and issuing out copyright infringement notices based on the torrent's file names.

Re:Legally (1, Redundant)

nogginthenog (582552) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059347)

Maybe you should change ISP?

Battlestar Galactica (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11059427)

I hope it was worth it.

Re:Legally (0)

julesh (229690) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059314)

WARNING: THE FOLLOWING IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE. TALK TO SOMEBODY QUALIFIED IN YOUR JURISDICTION IF UNCERTAIN.

There are potential legal problems from using a file sharing network that does not allow you to prevent automatic uploads. BitTorrent is not the only such network: I'm also aware that ED2K has the same system, and some modern Gnutella clients (although it can be disabled in these).

That said, it has been suggested that as the uploading in the case of these networks is an automatic function of the software you are using, and does not require any explicit action on your behalf, you are less likely to be held legally accountable for it than if (e.g.) you were to share the file on networks where this does not happen, or were to seed a new torrent, etc.

This of course depends on how sympathetic your local judicial system is to downloaders, etc.

Re:Legally (1)

micolous (757089) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059361)

There is only one way to accurately track the use of a file on BitTorrent, and that is to have a complete block of data sent from your BT client to the intellectual property tracking company's BT client. As you start uploading straight away, there is a high probability that your client could send data to the "wrong person". This is in contrast to the traditional client-server model where each file served would have to be checked, and you could not see who downloaded it without quite blatantly violating the privacy of the user or the IP tracking company put out some bait, if the downloader didn't share the file after the download was complete.

Relying solely on the name of the file isn't enough, or the IPs given out by the tracker, as torrent sites could always generate lemons to try and fool automated testers. The IP company would have to download the susected file, check it (ie: listen/watch it), then look at who sent them the file - all manually. At the moment, their automated bots have habits of returning false positives.

Re:Legally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11059438)

generate lemons to try and fool automated testers

"try to fool".

Re:Legally (1)

gronofer (838299) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059458)

I am not convinced they are particularly vulnerable, since these uploads are requested by other people, not by the owner of the computer doing the uploading. I.e. they are the ones who make the copy, it just happens to be using your equipment.

This is similar to leaving a photocopier running somewhere for other people to use.

Uhh.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11059267)

Is there anything here to discuss? The submission seems like an offhand thought, rather than a story -- and it's not even a thought that's really in dispute.

Re:Uhh.. (2, Informative)

OAB_X (818333) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059392)

Well, because your IP is being blasted around to trackers and users everwhere unhidden, the RIAA could track you that way. But the most effective way would be to just go after trackers themselves.

Various trackers a while ago came under a flood of DOS attacks. We dont know who, but that they did. 100MBS connections were maxxed out in minutes. The RIAA/MPAA could do something like this similar to Lycos (now scrapped) anti-spam screensaver. Just call it an "anti-piracy screensaver" and say that by using it you lower the cost of movies as they dont need to compensate for piracy in the price as much (note: I dont actually think that they would give a deal, let alone drop prices if it was effective).

For example, the MPAA/RIAA gets a few thousand people to download the screensaver, suddenly the Pirates Cove tracker goes way overloaded and you suddenly cant get listings for people anymore. Eventually they would be able to get around it (changing DNS/IP addresses and such), but not before it knocked thousands of people off their download.

Effective? Yes, legal? Probably not, but its not the goal to crash the server, only to "increase the cost of doing buisness". As far as I know TPC does not have advertisements (though its been a while since i have been there), so they would need to rely increasingly on donations and such.

Re:Uhh.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11059456)

Then the evolution will bring new p2p applications that can't be harmed by that. The only solutions is going down with the prices... And offering legal movie downloads for a fair price. gnunet, freenet, mute ...

Re:Uhh.. (1)

kin242 (789922) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059460)

I think that someone would set up a counter-offensive- the anti-RIAA screensaver... Very dangerous game to start playing....

The solution is simple.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11059271)

Simply force ISPs to stop all traffic on ... (looks up bit torrent on google) TCP port 80!
Simple!

What's the problem? (5, Insightful)

tesmako (602075) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059276)

I really don't see the problem here, other P2P apps are tricky since the users themselves make the content available, but with BitTorrent it should be very clear-cut who to complain to if content you own show up as a download; the tracker.

The tracker is what facilitates the download, the person who runs the tracker has set it up with the intent to share the specific file being shared. The tracker site is typically also the root of all the sharing through being a base seeder as well. So, basicly this brings things back to the days of piracy over public FTP and HTTP download sites, just attack the one facilitating the downloads. While foreign hosting and such might make this trickier it sure is way simpler than trying to attack the typical P2P network where the users are also the ones bringing the content to the table.

Re:What's the problem? (3, Informative)

Fallen_Knight (635373) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059281)

problem is with trackers outside of the USA...

Re:What's the problem? (2, Interesting)

Myrmi (730278) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059282)

Although with Exeem [slashdot.org] it looks as if they're hedging their bets for the moment over which system (P2P, torrents, or a combination of the two) is going to be the best. Even making the appropriate authorities unsure of which system to primarily target might help.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

BluhDeBluh (805090) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059308)

AFAIK, the trackers themselves don't actually contain any copyrighted or illegal data. This means they are legal in several countries, since they are only facilitating sharing of data.

Comparing it a FTP or HTTP download is foolish, since then you are breaking international copyright laws which is comparatively easy to enforce. However, laws on P2P differ from coutry to country.

Re:What's the problem? (0)

tesmako (602075) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059345)

That is what I am pondering, the only purpose for a tracker handling a file that is illegal to download is to download the illegal file. Question is how this looks from a legal standpoint. Personally I feel that in the interest of consistency it should be illegal, it is just a loophole (I could provide illegal downloads by giving out a long list of indexes of bytes in the slashdot frontpage HTML source, then one can download the index-list, the frontpage and recreate the illegal file, I don't provide the actual bytes in the same sense that the tracker doesn't).

About the HTTP/FTP comparison I were thinking about all the tracker sites that also provides a base seed (the majority of them), once they seed the torrent they are in the same situation as a provider of a FTP site at least.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

micolous (757089) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059389)

The tracker does not have a single part of the downloadable file, at most, a one way hash of the file. To say that is illegal is like saying that e7e14c2e5fc774be11de3a59f91d5697 is illegal because it is a hash of (part of) a copyrighted work.

This is in contrast to using two-way encryption (such as steganography, which is what your example regarding the slashdot webpage is), where the data given is directly used to recreate the original file.

Re:What's the problem? (1, Informative)

tesmako (602075) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059475)

That was the whole point, while other hosts are involved the tracker is there as the root of the network, its whole purpose to organize the hosts so that one can recreate the original file.

As I said I don't know if it really is illegal, but the intent of the law is fairly clear, the tracker distinction is just a technicality.

The point of the argument was that I don't think it should matter what the tracker has, it should matter what the tracker is there to do. So I am saying:
The tracker has only one single purpose, to make illegal to download file A downloadable for users.
While the tracker does not have the file the hosts that do the distribution only do so under the organisation of the tracker.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059449)

That is what I am pondering, the only purpose for a tracker handling a file that is illegal to download is to download the illegal file.

That assumes that the tracker has a way of knowing which files are illegal. There isn't any reliable way for it to know that; it can't be accused of knowingly facilitating illegal transfers. There is more and more quite legal content on BitTorrent (though probably not a large percentage).

The same logic would give "the only reason for FedEx to handle an illegal substance is to deliver it to a criminal". Every method of communication and transport can be used illegally, that doesn't mean you can make the whole structure in itself illegal.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

Quelain (256623) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059436)

"However, laws on P2P differ from coutry to country."

Can you give an example of a law which makes a distinction between P2P and non-P2P file transfer?

All machines on the 'net are peers, aren't they?

Re:What's the problem? (4, Informative)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059323)

The tracker is what facilitates the download, the person who runs the tracker has set it up with the intent to share the specific file being shared. The tracker site is typically also the root of all the sharing through being a base seeder as well. So, basicly this brings things back to the days of piracy over public FTP and HTTP download sites, just attack the one facilitating the downloads.

Man, you're so wrong. The tracker only hosts the .torrent files, if that! It's primary roll is to just keep a database of who is sharing what as that is the information the bittorrent client's request from it. This is why it's so hard for the MPAA to crack down on them, as it basically does the job of google but for a specific audience. It doesn't host or upload or share any copyright material, it just tracks those that do.

Re:What's the problem? (4, Interesting)

tesmako (602075) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059362)

Trackers typically have some initial seed locally arranged, needed to get the whole thing going. On most sites the seed also stays around to make sure that no fragment ends up lost.

Either way I can't say that I think it is obvious in any way that it should be legal to keep a tracker just because it does not actually hold the file. Its only purpose in existance is to provide access to the file, and also, the hashes that it keeps are generated from the file. While some people are tempted to compare the trackers information to plain linking I think it is a flawed argument. While the tracker only points out where each file fragment is available from the pointed to hosts are not there for any other purpose than to be pointed out by the tracker. They are if you will not really practically reachable in any other way. In that sense one can just as well see the tracker as an integral component in a system that as a whole is illegal.

Re:What's the problem? (3, Informative)

grazzy (56382) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059399)

Well i suppose sometimes it makes sense for the seeder to start a tracker on his own computer, thats not the recommended way.

A properly run tracker should never host any data. Just torrents. A torrent is merely a file with checksums + some info.

How do you think for instance, www.thepiratebay.org (swedish) can stay online?

Re:What's the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11059406)

From the torrentbits homepage:

"Disclaimer: None of the files shown here are actually hosted on this server. The links are provided solely by this site's users. The administrator of this site (www.torrentbits.org) cannot be held responsible for what its users post, or any other actions of its users. You may not use this site to distribute or download any material when you do not have the legal rights to do so. It is your own responsibility to adhere to these terms."

Re:What's the problem? (3, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059463)

I have to wonder how well that sort of disclaimer actually protects the owner. I mean, if it's quite clear that the site exists to facilitate copyright infringement (n.b. 'if'. I'm not saying it does), then I think that disclaimers not worth the paper it's not printed on.

Re:What's the problem? (4, Insightful)

Ath (643782) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059396)

Nice try, but that's essentially the same as what Napster was doing. Providing a central "database" where the material was linked.

The only defense here for such a website is that DMCA-style laws and even old copyright laws provide a safe haven clause. This means that the copyright holder must inform them that the content is copyrighted and unauthorized for sharing. If you check most sites that host Bittorrent links to copyrighted content, they always have some clear language saying "if you are the copyyright holder and this is your stuff, tell us and we will remove the link". Until that kicks in and the copyright holder informs them, there is no liability.

That all being said, the newer laws (like the one just passed in Australia) lets anyone notify the site and force a reaction. No longer is only the copyright holder themself required.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059409)

s/roll/role/

Re: Your sig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11059448)

The problem with slashdot is that most of it's users were bullied and stuffed into lockers as kids!

"its".

Re:What's the problem? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11059462)

The tracker only hosts the .torrent files

"The tracker hosts only the".

It's primary roll is to just keep a database

"Its", "role", "is just to keep".

the bittorrent client's request from it

"clients".

any copyright material, it just tracks

"copyrighted", ";".

Re:What's the problem? (2, Insightful)

unixbob (523657) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059441)

Even more to the point, what about the screeners that get released. Lots of these movies come from studios that have been sent the screener for translation or for post production work. If they get their own security in order first then they can start looking outside.

Remove the source of the high quality pirated material and you will inevitably reduce the interest in the illegal copies.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

tolonuga (10369) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059467)

what about anonymous trackers? run by people
who do not look at the content of the file
that is shared. bittorrent allowes to do that
(nobody does, as trackers generate huge amounts
of traffic, but it is possible).

I don't think BitTorrent will be much of a problem (3, Insightful)

SimianOverlord (727643) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059280)

I imagine the copyright holders will go after the people who index bittorrent seeds, rather than the people involved in the filesharing, for facilitating the crime. If they hit these people, BitTorrent will become less popular as it becomes increasingly difficult to find what you want. It probably won't even matter if this is dubious, legally, just look at the RIAA's actions. A few C&D letters will cool off most people who have neither the money or inclination to fight a protracted court battle.

Re:I don't think BitTorrent will be much of a prob (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11059294)

Not a problem. We'll just torrent the torrent index.

Re:I don't think BitTorrent will be much of a prob (5, Informative)

mowler2 (301294) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059325)

In some countries, like sweden, bittorrent trackers are legal. Since they do not spread copyrighted material but just link to where one can find copyrighted material.

Also there is a court ruling from the BBS-time that says that the BBS administrators is NOT responsible for what the users do on the BBS (such as trading warez). It is argued that the same reasoning can be done for a torrent tracker. However if there are copyrighted material transferred without the copyrightholders approval, people that USE the tracker is still doing something illegal.

The industry has tried to remove torrents from piratebay.org, which is the biggest torrent tracker in sweden, with limited [thepiratebay.org] success. (they have even gotten calls from Microsoft when Halo 2 was up for downloading) :)

Re:I don't think BitTorrent will be much of a prob (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11059388)

Best reply ever [thepiratebay.org] .

Re:I don't think BitTorrent will be much of a prob (1)

Ganennon (758776) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059339)

They don't seem to be very successful with the site that calls itself "the world's biggest BitTorrent tracker". Link to the legal threats they've recieved, and their rather rude answers [thepiratebay.org] . They (RIAA/MPAA) probably need to lobby for some laws forbidding it first, and not only in the USA.

Re:I don't think BitTorrent will be much of a prob (1)

Curtman (556920) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059368)

A few C&D letters will cool off most people who have neither the money or inclination to fight a protracted court battle.

But how well does that really work? That has been the strategy so far with ed2k/overnet, and they're no closer to shutting that down than before they started. You kill one site, and a bunch of new ones [slyck.com] show up in its place.

Re:I don't think BitTorrent will be much of a prob (1, Interesting)

value_added (719364) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059447)

"I imagine the copyright holders will go after the people who index bittorrent seeds, rather than the people involved in the filesharing, for facilitating the crime."

Facilitating crimes? It's become a cliche, but it's worth reminding ourselves that introducing a new vocabulary to change the meaning of common and well-understood ideas is a tactic as effective as it is disingenuous, yet a tactic that demands not only tacit acceptance on everyone's part, but also a measure of credulity as that typically found on the AM airwaves for its success. Put another way, you need to (and often can) fool all the people all the time.

How else to gain advantage than re-frame the discussion? Instead of concerning ourselves with (or being amused by) the mundane activities of ordinary folks who, when children, were taught to share, we can all become law enforcement officials. Just like on TV. But why just mouth the words when we can complete the picture with the requisite uniform, badge and perhaps a sidearm.

Aiding and abetting? Providing material support? Or maybe offering expert advice and asistance? How about conspiring to commit? It was George Bush who said "There ought to be limits to freedom." but my guess is that both he and his former attorney general John Ashcroft would be just as proud.

What's the difference? (4, Insightful)

pen (7191) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059283)

Kazaa:

  1. Run a modified client on a standard ISP address
  2. Record IP addresses of everyone allegedly sharing your copyrighted material
  3. Send out the DMCA notices to ISPs

BitTorrent:

  1. Run a modified client on a standard ISP address
  2. Record IP addresses of everyone allegedly sharing your copyrighted material
  3. Send out the DMCA notices to ISPs

(The effectiveness and ethics of this method are a different story.)

Re:What's the difference? (1)

raventh1 (581261) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059432)

What if you can't get in to the tracker? Other P2P programs have always wanted more and more people, random people. What if you only let trusted clients on the tracker? This is the headache, and with Kazaa, there isn't any way to do this. I could setup a tracker, and give my closest friends accounts to it, and only let them on it. Now if I'm sharing my own music that I made, this is wonderful. The problem for 'Industry' is they aren't my friend, so they can't even tell if I am doing illegal things.

Re:What's the difference? (1)

tolonuga (10369) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059464)

but note with most filesharing tools there are also these steps:
2.1 search that user for more copyrighted material
2.2 add it all up to make any lawsuite real expensive

What are you going to do with bittorrent?
Most people seed only a few files, possibly on different trackers. There is no easy reverse lookup to get the filename from the binary content.

So many legit uses (5, Insightful)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059286)

Perhaps the difficulty in battling BitTorrent is because it's harder to argue that its only purpose is to pirate material? We've seen plenty of good uses for it, such as alleviating the bandwidth pains of downloading Windows XP SP2, high demand game patches (Take THAT, Gamespy and your system of waiting behind 400 people in line!), etc.

Re:So many legit uses (1)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059302)

I agree, BitTorrent does what all the other p2p applications promised to do.

Re:So many legit uses (1)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059311)

Haha, funny actually. But I believe the success of this is because it integrates so well into the web experience. The closest anything else ever got was the ed2k:// delimiter for eDonkey, but never really took off - probably because every download took hours to finally pick up speed.

Re:So many legit uses (1)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059414)

That was exactly what I was thinking too.
The idea of allowing people with limited resources to spread (knowledge of) their stuff, never really happened the way it has with BitTorrent. Even with the possibility of inclusion of the links.
Just placing their files on a p2p network without the usage of a web page to promote it won't do much when people don't know what to search for.

Re:So many legit uses (1)

alwsn (593349) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059352)

We've seen plenty of good uses for it, such as alleviating the bandwidth pains of downloading Windows XP SP2, ...

Yes, BitTorrent has a lot of good uses and downloading WinXP sp2 was a very good use, but it wasn't a legal use. Just because Microsoft gives the patch away freely, that doesn't mean they include unlimitied distribution rights. I'm not sure if the same holds true for game patches or not. Just because something is highly useful and seems okay doesn't automatically make it legal.

Re:So many legit uses (1)

coopseruantalon (835573) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059374)

Well, linux distro can be quite a pain getting without it, not to mention distribute. Also peoples personal videos and music. Another bonus is the centralized way in wich the download starts. you can have the torrent lie on the programs webpage and then have torrent network handle the download itself.

Plus it gives you that added sense of contributing :-D

Re:So many legit uses (1)

alwsn (593349) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059425)

True, I wasn't trying to imply that BT had no legitimate uses. I only meant to say that some of the given ones were, suprisingly, not legitimate.

Re:So many legit uses (1)

Taladar (717494) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059452)

So you say if I download SP2 for a friend of mine who has no (or slow) Internet I am doing something illegal. If that is true MS has licenses more fucked up than I thought until now.

As long as there is a legitimate use... (4, Insightful)

darnok (650458) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059291)

of Bittorrent (e.g. downloading Linux distros), the RIAA and MPAA have no legal way of killing it off. Bittorrent is outstandingly useful for downloading all sorts of large files, and not all large files are copy-disallowed material.

As the article said, the genii is now out of the bottle, and there's no way it can be captured and contained again.

Re:As long as there is a legitimate use... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11059400)

the genii is now out of the bottle

Genii? As in the plural of genius? That must have been one cramped bottle.

Private Trackers (3, Interesting)

Celt (125318) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059298)

Even here in Ireland one friend of mine got a notice from his ISP saying he was downloading from suprnova and that Universal had tracked his IP.
So sites like suprnova are wayyyy to open and as time goes by the smart people have moved away from such sites.

But there are private trackers as well they have.
- Alot of people
- Alot of content
- Good ratios so speeds are good

Nothing like suprnova and they are monitored carefully by the owners, so how are the MPAA/RIAA going to monitor these?

You, sir, are both a thief and a murderer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11059336)

For you have killed a baboon and stolen his face

Why don't they use it instead (5, Insightful)

tero (39203) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059299)

I'd be willing to pay for legal (non-DRM:ed) downloads of movies and tv-shows. Subscription or just per download, take you pick, I don't care.

I fail to see why Hollywood won't learn from RIAA's mistakes (and Apple's success) and start a service like this, the audience is global, there's tons of cash to make!

I live in a small nordic country (Sweden) where you have to wait 1-2 years for most "cool" shows (and even then they might get a timeslot around midnight) or get passed altogether (example, they just started running Angel Season 1, 01:00), so downloading series and buying them in DVD formats is more of a norm for me and many of my friends.

Now, a legal torrent.. that I'd pay for (and they'd even get my upload bandwidth for free).

Re:Why don't they use it instead (4, Insightful)

alwsn (593349) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059417)

Rather than fight BitTorrent, the networks need to realize the powere behind online distribution. Here is what a successful TV distribution system needs.

Light DRM

While DRM is disliked by end users, a DRM free system will never be launched. The networks wouldn't allow a DRM free system as it could, and would, be used to distribute shows to people who didn't pay. DRM should be in a similar style to iTunes, allowing a reasonable amount of use, while still making it very difficult for the casual user to instant message or upload a song over P2P to someone. Ability to play the show should remain for at least the length of the show's season.

Reasonable and Flexible Cost

Although many users enjoy shows, 'my cable bill' divided by 'number of shows I watch' will drive end user logic about perceived value of a show. $3 dollars per show is low enough to be reasonable, and hopefully high enough to generate revenue. Offer package deals, if someone is a fan of the show, offer the season at a 25% of 33% discount of all episodes are bought up front.

Marketed Well

DRM distribution of files would allow the networks to promote their shows. Sign up for the service, and get one free episode from each show on the upcoming fall lineup. This would help get potential new viewers to generate more income. Tie online season pack sales in with significant discounts on eventual DVD releases. This will help people feel they're actually getting something tangible for their money. Market internationally, as many countries don't have new shows promptly available.

Acknowledge the Inevitable

Thousdands, if not millions, of people are already downloading episodes. Many of these people would be happy to pay for these episodes and would enjoy the convenience and reliability of a legal option. Younger people are watching less TV and are spending an increasing amount of time on computers. Move the media to where people want to view it.

Newgroups? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11059300)

I'm posting AC because my password login thingy is being bitchy.

I've always wondered what, if anything, the **AA's are ever planning to do about the use of binary newgroups to distribute files. I've never seen any statistics pertaining to the percentage of pirated software that is distributed through these means. Are they not going after them because the files are hosted on servers owned by big fancy powerful corporations (i.e. AOL/Time Warner)? Or is there some technical reason that they can't do anything about them?

Re:Newgroups? (3, Informative)

julesh (229690) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059356)

Or is there some technical reason that they can't do anything about them?

I believe Harlan Ellison successfully sued somebody who was posting copies of his stories to alt.binaries.e-books (or similar). He also tried to sue AOL, who settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.

See details here: http://www.authorslawyer.com/c-ellison.shtml

Re:Newgroups? (1)

akarnid (591191) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059391)

I find the slant of the article quite disturbing. Mentioning that suprnova hosts torrents for atom bomb e-books and beheading videos really gives BT a bad name. But that's mainstream media for ya.

Re:Newgroups? (1)

KiwiRed (598427) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059471)

I thought mainstream media was busy giving media a bad name?

Re:Newgroups? (2, Informative)

nogginthenog (582552) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059364)

Perhaps because ISPs are unwilling to provide data on who downloaded what from Usenet? I know if my newsfeed did I'd switch.

Simple solution. (2, Insightful)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059306)

Encrypt the file (breaking it would violate their own laws, should they pass), and give out the key in a special license, so that anyone/anycorporation/anyorganization that uses the key in any way forfeits all ability to punish anyone/anocorporation/anyorganization for it's contents.

Re:Simple solution. (4, Interesting)

julesh (229690) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059333)

Encrypt the file (breaking it would violate their own laws, should they pass)

No it wouldn't. It's only illegal to break encryption if it forms an effective copyright protection measure (I forget the exact terminology, but that's close enough). In this case, it wouldn't actually be protecting anyone's copyright, so they would be legally entitled to break it.

and give out the key in a special license, so that anyone/anycorporation/anyorganization that uses the key in any way forfeits all ability to punish anyone/anocorporation/anyorganization for it's contents.

The legality of such a license is questionable, at best. First of all, can an encryption key (a purely functional item, usually automatically designed) be considered copyrightable? If not, then you do not need a license to use it. Secondly, can a license take away a person's rights to their own IP? I wouldn't have thought so.

IANAL, etc.

Re:Simple solution. (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059380)

OK, So maybe you cannot license the key. Maybe you make a small script/application to decrypt it (never hand the key to someone) and make a license for THAT. Specifically state that users are not allowed to reverse engineer the app, ect. Do not open source this utility (for obvious reasons). That should cover that part. As far as the encryption idea: all you have to do is make something of your own, (draw some random squiggles in a JPeg and include that with the item in question. Voila! You are protecting your copywrited work, and they would not be able to legally break that.

Re:Simple solution. (1)

Curtman (556920) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059404)

It's only illegal to break encryption if it forms an effective copyright protection measure

Contrary to popular belief, not everybody lives in the U.S. either. There are no laws against defeating encryption here, so whats to stop me from doing that, and re-sharing it with the rest of the world?

Re:Simple solution. (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059407)

The idea that everyone except those that would attempt to impose legal rammifications onto those sharing the file would be given access. You would only be hurting yourself, in such a case, as you should be protected under this guise.

Re:Simple solution. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11059350)

You, sir, are both a thief and a murderer, for you have killed a baboon and stolen his face

Re:Simple solution. (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059383)

It was already dead! I swear! I have no idea where it's face is! Wait... why do i have a baboon's face in my pocket?

Re:Simple solution. (1)

bathmann (797470) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059429)

at last a simple solution at least as effective as a disclaimer on a frontdoor: "I'm killing my wife. If you are a police officer, hear strange noises coming from my house and break into it, you agree not to arrest me on one count of attempted first degree murder."

As long as you don't control to whom the key goes and just release it in the wild, there is no way your encryption-trick can legally bind anyone and restricts their rights to prosecute you.

PeerGuardian (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11059310)

Can someone explain in laymans terms exactly what this program does? What do the blacklists consist of and who compiles them? Why do I need this?

Re:PeerGuardian (5, Informative)

TheRealJFM (671978) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059351)

happily:

PeerGuardian is based around the idea of an open list of blocklists collected from known fake files/scaners etc.

The **AAs are not very sophisticated in their searching - man scans come from a very small number of ranges.

The ranges are found by:

1) Whois searching, If we know the name of the company we can easily find them by scanning whois databases. They *have* to give their company name (eg BayTSP) so they are easy to find.

2) Log comparison. PG collects a log of every ip you connect to against the time. If someone gets a letter we get them to cross-reference the time the infringement is said to be on the letter (this must legally be included) with the ips in their log. 9/10 it is an obvious IP doing the scanning that can be found.

see our forum on this topic here:
http://methlabs.org/forums/forumdisplay.php ?f=41

PeerGuardian is simply a low level firewall that blocks these ips. PeerGuardian 2 will be open source, and will update automatically.

We're also trying to make the database more open, by adding a system where all the ranges can be viewed on a webpage, and users can comment, report bad ranges, and vote on how useful a range is.

See the reviews of PG2 *closed beta* here:

http://www.afterdawn.com/guides/archive/peerguar di an_2_review.cfm
http://www.p2private.org/review/

I expect PG2 to be out before the new year, but it will be out when its ready, not beforehand.

Thanks :)

Joseph Farthing
Administrator & News Editor
Methlabs.org

Re:PeerGuardian (1)

Florian Weimer (88405) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059457)

2) Log comparison. PG collects a log of every ip you connect to against the time. If someone gets a letter we get them to cross-reference the time the infringement is said to be on the letter (this must legally be included) with the ips in their log. 9/10 it is an obvious IP doing the scanning that can be found.

Ahem, and what prevents these logs from being subpoenaed?

Re:PeerGuardian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11059366)

PeerGuardian is bullshit. It's simply a blacklist of ip numbers/ranges. The fun part is that anyone can report any ip they think is "suspicious". End result: A list with the IP of nintendo.com, microsoft.com and many, many IP numbers of someone that some random person wanted to get shitty speeds on p2p.

Re:PeerGuardian (2, Informative)

TheRealJFM (671978) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059375)

we do *check* ranges before they go in
if someone comes onto our forum and posts a range we don't just add it without any thought.

other lists may do this but we *don't*

Re:PeerGuardian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11059443)

PeerGuardian is particularly useless when it comes to bittorrent because the MPAA/RIAA/Whatever can get all of the information they need from the tracker itself. They don't have to connect to the user's computer at all.

Re:PeerGuardian (2)

swilver (617741) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059478)

Unless of course the tracker is running PeerGuardian...

FAILZORS! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11059318)

worthwhile. It's infinitesimally standpoint, I don't You down. It 3as to look into around return it shout the loudest Many users of BSD to keep up as America. You, sales and so on, Of events today, of playing your BitTorrent) Second, corpse turned over 9bad for *BSD. As BSD had become of open-source. implementation to paper towels is dying. Fact: part of GNAA if interest in having

Rethink. (1)

PrivateDonut (802017) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059321)

Maybe the licensing schemes need to be re-thought if people have resorted to stealing. Lowering the price could do the trick.

"stealing" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11059340)

Please don't call it "stealing". Copying is different, in both common sense and in a legal sense. This has been gone over many times, despite massive media campaigns.

Pet peeve..

Bitache (1)

kristopher (723047) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059330)

I like bittorrent and all but I don't see this being a real headache for MPAA as there isn't any kind of centralized database where one can search all published torrents. True there are sites like suprnova and such, but that isn't a reflection of all torrents.

Also what's the point of sharing twenty slightly, if that, different files instead of just one common file. Plus there needs to be more privacy, while also making leaches more accountable by having internal tracking of up/down ratio for all shared files. So that one who shares more will get priority when they download anything. Instead of merely tracking the bandwidth of one file, track the up/down bandwidth for all files of that user.

Peerguardian (3, Interesting)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059338)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Peerguardian just stop incoming and outgoing connections to it's list of banned IPs? If so, how does this stop a member of the **AA from connecting to a tracker and simply receiving the list of all the IPs connected to that torrent... How does it make a difference?

Re:Peerguardian (5, Informative)

TheRealJFM (671978) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059359)

This is very simple:

collecting the IP addresses of people connected to a tracker does not ammount to proof of infringement. You have to actually recieve some data from them to prove they are illegally transmitting copyrighted material. :)

Joseph Farthing
Administrator & News Editor
Methlabs.org

Re:Peerguardian (2, Insightful)

shird (566377) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059377)

bah.. its proof enough. Its not as if the MPAA are downloading the entire file off of each client/IP to check they are sharing that particular file. They are just getting the hashes etc,. The trackers keep track of what the client has up'd and down'd, this will only be recorded if the correct bytes are uploaded to other clients and reported as such.

Re:Peerguardian (4, Informative)

TheRealJFM (671978) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059401)

to hold up a case in court they have to actually *prove* the person is sharing the file.

getting a list of ips just won't be good enough without some sort of evidence

then again we have seen some stupid occasions where stupid takedown notices have been given:

http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/09/20/ 23 51242&tid=188&tid=123&tid=17&tid=1 06

Re:Peerguardian (1)

mstefanus (705346) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059394)

They have to catch you in the act. They could not just rely on the tracker information. Trackers act like an informant, but if to catch the seeders, they have to connect to the them and request for the file (proof). If they can't connect... they don't have proof, do they?

Re:Peerguardian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11059397)

Because unless they actually download some data from you how can they prove you are really sharing the file! ;-)

Re:Peerguardian (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11059468)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Peerguardian just stop incoming and outgoing connections to it's list of banned IPs? If so, how does this stop a member of the **AA from connecting to a tracker and simply receiving the list of all the IPs connected to that torrent... How does it make a difference?


The tracker can also run peerguardian. Many people I know who run trackers also run PG.

OH NOES!!! MALCOLM IS HEAR!1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11059358)

From TFA:
Malcolm of the MPAA says his organization is not focusing any more or less on BitTorrent than other file-sharing system. He declined to say whether the trade group intends to sue Cohen and wouldn't name any BitTorrent users who may have been included in the entertainment industry's latest wave of lawsuits.

"Anyone who uses BitTorrent and is under the illusion that they are anonymous are sorely mistaken," Malcolm said. "There is no reason why those lawsuits wouldn't include BitTorrent" users.
I'm quaking in my pants!!!! Please don't hurt me Mr. Malcolm!

Is this legal? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11059365)

I use bittorrent to download episodes of tv shows that I didn't get a chance to watch. How is this different from just sticking a tape in the vcr (if I even had a vcr anymore)?

You might say that by downloading I don't watch the commercials, but there aren't any commercials on shows like Dead Like Me, and I already PAY for the premium channel it's on.

Confusion on the tracing. (4, Informative)

Fussen (753791) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059369)

I was explained to that torrents are not easily traced because all the data is sent in small packet chunks.. I think it might be in 256k chunks.
And that since all these data packets are being sent randomly from various sources, it would be much more difficult to actually point a finger at a source or destination.

It was described that sure you might be able to intercept the transmition of data, but you are not witnessing the transfer of a in-tact file.

So you could see that maybe it's some sort of mpeg stream or maybe part of a larger compressed archive, but it's just a piece of it. And once the next version of the torrent system comes along with the ability to transfer without use of trackers or servers, it becomes here-say on any legal action.

So does this packet chunk bit torrent stuff actually hold true? And if not, Why?

:)

appropriate nomenclature (1)

majest!k (836921) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059390)

Allow me to clarify something:

Bit Torrent is a PROTOCOL, not a program or website. The RIAA/MPAA are NOT locking their crosshairs on Bit Torrent itself, but rather the sources that supply copyright infringing 'seeds' which work over the Bit Torrent protocol. This includes (but is not limited to) websites like SuprNova, IRC channels and newsgroups.

Saying "Bit Torrent gives Hollywood a Headache" is like saying "FTP gives Hollywood a Headache."

Doesn't make much sense now does it? :)

"FTP gives Hollywood a Headache." (1)

anti-NAT (709310) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059455)

Shhh, don't give them ideas.

Legit uses (3, Insightful)

knightrdr (685033) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059419)

How many government snafu's will be revealed by file sharing? Look at some of the things published on P2P networks already, concerning prisoner abuse by the U.S. military. Some of the information was originally made public by more traditional means, but many hot stories have broke because of pics or videos from Iraq on P2P networks. Of course there is the flip side of beheading videos being published by terrorists or a meere "gore loving freak". I wonder how long until we hear about "those terrorist P2Pers". Don't think it can't happen...

When will they get it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11059423)

When will they stop putting money on antipiracy and just accept the fact that there's nothing they can do to stop people from spreading any digital material? There will always be ways to share stuff no matter what anyone does.

Downloading movies is legal in Finland (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11059434)

Downloading copyrighted material is legal in Finland. There's nothing MPAA or RIAA can do about it.

I think BitTorrent users are harder to sue (5, Insightful)

swilver (617741) | more than 9 years ago | (#11059465)

"Anyone who uses BitTorrent and is under the illusion that they are anonymous are sorely mistaken," Malcolm said. "There is no reason why those lawsuits wouldn't include BitTorrent" users.
Actually, there is a reason why the lawsuits wouldn't include BitTorrent users. It is much harder to sue BitTorrent users for multiple infringements at once, which (I think) is what makes the current lawsuit approach cost effective.

When you find a BitTorrent user participating in a big swarm, you can only sue them for that single infringement, not for sharing hundreds of movies or music files via programs like Kazaa. In order to make it cost effective they would have to keep track of your online BitTorrent activity for quite a while to collect multiple infringements.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?